Middle English Dictionary Entry

folk n. (collective or plural)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) People, persons; (b) lewed ~, the common people, laymen, non-clerics; poure ~, poor people; yong ~, young people; (c) people in general, human race, manking; folken frover, comforter of mankind; mortel folk, mortal men; on folk, among mankind, in the world; on folken wis, according to the human manner.
Used loosely: (a) angels, devils; fenden ~, the devils; (b) creatures; also, things [in Palladius].
(a) Nation, race, tribe; also, the people of a city, province, or region; burh ~, townsmen, men of a city; (b) kindred, family, clan; (c) offspring, descendants; (d) countre ~, ileden ~, land ~, leodlich ~, the people of a nation or race; (e) ~ fest, public festival; ~ king [OE folc-cyning], king of a people; ~ mele [OE folc-mǣlum], by crowds, in a wholesale manner; ~ nede, people's need; ~ place, ?a public place; ~ rede [OE folc-rǣden], the people; folkes mot [OE folces-gemōt, folc-mōt], assembly of the people.
(a) Of a religious group or sect: Cristene folk, Godes ~, hethen ~; (b) of a social class or occupational group: ~ of armes, men-at-arms; ~ of shot, archers; going ~, foot-soldiers; ordred ~, religious ~, clergy; secular ~, laymen; (c) a type of people; persons with a certain quality or distinguishing trait.
A body of retainers, followers, servants, or attendants; subjects (of a king); household;--also fig.
(a) A band of armed men, army, division of an army, garrison; (b) a council, assembly, governing or advisory body; (c) a crowd, multitude; troop of hunters; company of guests.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1475 Gregory's Chron.(Eg 1995)155 : And he that shalle be requyryd shalle be holdyn to sende at hys owne dysposyssyon hys men or forke [read: folk] for the fyrst monythe.
  • Note: New spelling